Big update coming to the Tumblr post interface today. The new formatting bar looks great. I hope that important features like “content source” (which few people use but everyone should) are still easily accessible without having to go into a special mode.

P.S. The missing “content source” option on the iOS apps makes them really frustrating for me to use. I guess Tumblr’s thinking there is that most content being posted from an iOS device is from a phone and therefore an original photo or whatever, but that’s often just not the case for me. Maybe more to the point: Since Tumblr’s interface is so tightly edited (which is good) what they do choose to include and how they include it says a lot about how you should use the service. Removing or obscuring the “content source” input implies that the baseline amount of information that should be part of a post doesn’t include a content source URL. If I was more of a douche I think I would call that “anchoring.”


Hey Tumblr friends, I made a bunch of custom temporary tattoos for my Philosophy Posters project (modeled above by my friend Aurora).

I think they’re really cool I’d love to send them to you. Put your address in this Google form and I’ll mail some to you!


“Are we the things we share? That’s a big question.”


Peter Vidani, lead designer at Tumblr


New Tumblr Project: For the next month, I’m going to be running a new blog called “Just the News.” Check it out at

More info:

Just the News is an experiment by Max Temkin to capture the big news of the day without any gossip, sports, or distracting bullshit.

I’ve always wished I could get my news on a plain white page with a few well-curated stories; no ads, no social media, no comments. I got tired of waiting for someone to build that page, so I made it myself.

I’m no reporter, but I’ll do the best I can to curate about five important stories a day. On days where there aren’t five important stories, I’ll post less. Some days, I’ll also link to a single great piece of long-form journalism.

I’ll update this blog every morning during the month of March, and we’ll see what happens after that.

Thanks for reading!


“We think the users are smart, and don’t need things ‘sold’ to them. Keeping this in mind gets rid of the clutter, like labels and chatty copy.”


Tumblr designer Peter Vidani


Someone at Tumblr using a Pilot precise V5 extra-fine pen on an Action Method dot grid pad.

P.S. Love the Action Method gear, but I prefer the Uniball Vision Elite micro.


New theme! I haven’t been able to do much while I’ve been recovering from the wisdom teeth, but I did manage to make a new version of my Tumblr theme.

I’m especially proud of the little footer. I wanted to have that stuff available but get it out of the way, so I just used jQuery to fade it in and out. I also switched some of the typefaces to the new Google Web Fonts.



Notes on Tumblr’s Reorganization

So as everyone who is reading this has already noticed, Tumblr rolled out some changes this morning. The first update is a redesign, which changes the presentation of some elements on the Dashboard. The second update is a reorganization, which changes where information appears on the Dashboard.

Design Changes

The redesign of the dashboard is excellent, and lives up to the usual high standards of Peter, Jacob, and the Tumblr design team. What’s good:

Organization Changes

The goal of the reorganization appears to be to make Tumblr’s main functions more discreet, by creating a clean separation of consumption from curation. Now the Dashboard shows you what other people are doing, and the pages for your own blogs shows you what you’re doing.

I’m not so sure that this reorganization was successful, simply because the magic of the old dashboard was that it combined what you’re saying with the reaction to what you have said. Even the name “Dashboard” implies a top-down view of your world on Tumblr with statistics and information right at your fingertips.

When you log into Tumblr, what is the information you want to see immediately? For me, I want answers to these questions:

  1. What’s been posted since the last time I read my Dashboard?
  2. Have I gained or lost followers?
  3. What’s coming up in the queue?
  4. Are there any unfinished posts in my draft folder?
  5. What’s changed on my tag pages?

As of this reorganization, Tumblr has moved the answers to the most of these questions off the front page.

To me, the all-in-one nature of the Dashboard is at the heart of the entire Tumblr brand, much in the same way as Scott Livengood, the former CEO of Krispy Kreme, meant when he said, “We view the experience of a Krispy Kreme store where customers watch their donuts being baked behind glass as the defining element of the brand.”

At least one of the defining elements of the Tumblr brand was the little console of numbers on the sidebar of each page, and even as I’ve been writing up this post, I keep flipping back to the Dashboard in a separate tab and having the same kind of phantom limb experience; reaching for the tools I expect and being surprised when they’re not there.


Mr. Tambourine Man by Cloud Cult

This SoundCloud feature is amazing.


“I think appointments are caustic to creativity. It’s so frustrating when you’re in the middle of a great conversation or work groove, and you realize, ‘Oh, I’ve got an appointment. I’ve got to bolt.’ I prefer the ‘let’s just call each other when we need something or want to hang out’ approach. That way, I never have to cancel on people, which is always a bummer.”